Last week in the South Pacific great minds from all over the world gathered in Sydney, Australia to attend the Electronic Music Conference (EMC). The event took place over three nights and two days that were filled with members of the Australian and international music industry. This was EMC's third year running, with a theme of discovery. This focus was embodied in venues spread around different parts of town to give 160 local artists a chance to show this group of electronic music lovers the talent their country holds.
EMC was hosted in two areas of Sydney: Darlinghurst (the keynote venues) and Kings Cross (showcase venues). It kicked off at the Heineken Lounge, with free drinks flowing and a crowd full of both distinguished and novice members of the industry. The beauty of this conference was immediately apparent in the small and intimate setting. It was easy to converse with anyone and everyone from the founder of SFX, Donnie Estopinal to Peking Duk —the newest Australian electro-pop sensation. The welcome event offered a glimpse into the open and educational atmosphere the conference would provide and encourage. The bar scene buzzed with excitement for the upcoming next two days and nights of what was to be discovered in these two Sydney suburbs.
The keynotes covered a large range of topics and were packed with big names like Steve Aoki, Gary Richards, Flume, and Elizabeth Rose. A few of my favorites were included: Steve Aoki: Dim Mak & Discovering Talent, Say It Right: How To Build An Income From Songwriting For Dance Music, Going East: Dance Music In The Asian Market, Meet The Team Behind The Flume Phenomenon, and EDM Grows Up: What’s Next For Dance Music In America. Other keynotes discussed of the managerial side of the industry, new technology, and had various artists explaining their favorite musical gadgets and breaking down their sets in Ableton Live.
The common thread in these talks was effort and team work. If one works hard, has a strong passion, and truly believes in their art, success is attainable. There was also emphasis on how one needs to place value in their work and the importance of working with a team that have the same goals as the artist. The teamwork illustrated in the Flume panel highlighted these points and that stardom is not something that is easily sustainable without a group of people working together. It illuminated the fact that the music needs a brand behind it and a new and unique sound.
EMC Play showcased many new Australian artists. My only critique is that it didn’t give all these artists a fair opportunity to get heard because of how they were spread across the venues. They had too large of a line-up for too small of a crowd, but that is not to say it was not a great time. Local labels had their own showcases at different venues. Future Classic's had two exceptionally noteworthy acts, Hayden James and Touch Sensitive. Jack U made a surprise appearance, as well, Disclosure’s Howard Lawrence. All in all it was a good, well-structured event. A few new acts that did catch my attention were Moon Holiday, Alba, Goldie Locks, and Polographia.
EMC brought together different types of artists and industry players and accomplished its overall theme of discovery. There was a powerful energy and excitement for what the future holds and it was evident the electronic movement is gaining increasing momentum worldwide. I would love go back next year and I recommend attending. It’s a great networking event that provides its attendees with insight into the Australian and international music industry; and helps hopefuls understand the scene and find their place within it.